Romance fraud: Dating sites ‘riddled with scammers’ as TSB finds two-thirds of victims are women | UK News

Dating sites are “riddled with scammers”, warned a bank which found that two-thirds of dating fraud victims are women.

Those targeted in the scams make payments to criminals on average over a two-month period, a TSB analysis also found.

Payments are usually made over 62 days and the average age of a victim is 47, he said.

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The bank said it had reimbursed victims between the ages of 18 and 77, with female customers accounting for 66% of the cases analyzed.

Repeated transactions in love fraud ‘relationships’ are a central part of scams, with fraudsters tending to make up a ‘gory story’ as to why they need the money fast.

Victim paid £40,000 to fraudster

In one case, a woman was convinced she was talking to a soldier stranded overseas who claimed to need money to get home for Christmas, the bank said.

In total, she sent £1,200 in six payments to the scammer, realizing she had been cheated on just four days before Christmas.

Another instance lasted nearly two years after a client was approached on Instagram and continued to speak to the abuser on WhatsApp.

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The fraudster shared emotional stories to meet his need for money, including those about police bail, hotel costs and thefts.

The victim made 36 payments, amounting to £40,000, which the TSB says were fully refunded – along with 97% of all bank fraud cases brought to his attention.

During its analysis, the bank also found that the longest “relationship” lasted nearly three years, and more than one in 10 lasted more than six months.

“Don’t Trust Someone You’ve Never Met”

TSB fraud prevention director Paul Davis said dating sites are “riddled with scammers” and it’s important people “remain on their toes” when online.

He said: “Dating sites and social media can be a great way to meet people and stay connected during the pandemic – but they’re also riddled with scammers hoping to break your heart and your bank balance with cruel and complex tricks.

“When interacting online, it’s important to stay on your toes. Don’t trust people you’ve never met in person – and if the conversation turns to money, it’s time to stop. “

The TSB data covered the period from December 2020 to January 2022.